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How to Build a Gaucho Grill

Grilling is a beloved pastime for many, allowing us to enjoy a variety of delicious meats cooked to perfection over an open flame.

One style of grilling that has been gaining popularity is the gaucho grill, which originates from Argentina. Inspired by traditional open-fire cooking, this method uses charcoal to produce a unique, smoky flavor that enhances the natural taste of the meats we prepare.

The gaucho grill is designed to harness the power of a multi-zone fire, allowing us to cook different types of food at varying temperatures simultaneously. With its adjustable cooking surface, we can easily raise or lower the grate depending on the desired heat intensity.

This versatile grilling technique makes it perfect for experimenting with a range of meats and other ingredients to create mouth-watering dishes.

As we delve into the world of gaucho grilling, we'll explore how to build a gaucho grill from scratch, the essential components needed, and the best practices for cooking meat using this traditional Argentine method. Join us on a culinary journey that will elevate your grilling skills and bring your passion for outdoor cooking to new heights!

Understanding the Gaucho Grill

When it comes to Gaucho grills, often known as Argentinian grills or parrillas, they play a significant role in the traditional way of cooking, usually featuring an open-fire style. This type of cooking provides a unique, smokey flavor that we can all appreciate.

Typically, a Gaucho grill has a pan or grate located at the bottom for holding charcoal or wood, with a movable cooking surface that can be adjusted depending on the desired cooking technique.

Materials like stainless steel are commonly used in modern Gaucho grills, as they offer durability and easy maintenance. High-quality stainless steel grills can withstand high temperatures and offer a sleek, professional appearance, contributing to improved cooking results.

One of the essential aspects of Gaucho grills is the firebox, where the hardwood logs or charcoal are placed. The firebox ensures proper heat distribution, allowing for versatile cooking methods, such as high-heat searing or low and slow cooking for your favorite foods.

This adaptability is one of the reasons why Gaucho grills are so popular for various dishes, from traditional asados to other grilled delicacies.

Preparing an asado on a Gaucho grill involves cooking meats over an open flame. It's essential to have a proper understanding of how to control the heat levels, as well as knowing how to arrange the meat on the grill. The key to a successful asado is balancing the smokiness and temperature to achieve perfectly cooked, tender, and flavorful dishes.

We hope that this brief overview has given you a better understanding of the Gaucho grill and how it can enhance your outdoor cooking experience. Embrace the traditional Argentinian way of grilling, and enjoy the mouthwatering results!

The Heart of the Gaucho Grill: The Brasero

The brasero is truly the heart and soul of a gaucho grill. It's where the magic happens! This special component sets the gaucho grill apart from other grills. The brasero is a firebox attached to the grill, creating a separate area for burning the hardwood needed for cooking.

In a traditional gaucho grill, we use hardwood as our fuel source due to its ability to produce intensely flavorful heat. As the hardwood burns within the brasero, it gradually transforms into hot, glowing coals. These coals are then moved to the appropriate section of the grill to cook various types of food with precision and delicious smoky flavor.

There are a few key points to keep in mind when using your gaucho grill's brasero. First, be sure to choose high-quality hardwood, as it's a crucial factor for achieving that authentic Argentine grilling experience. Some popular choices include oak, hickory, and mesquite, each with its unique flavor profile.

Next, proper fire management is essential. This involves building and tending the flame within the brasero, ensuring the coals produced are consistently ready to cook. Be mindful of the desired heat level, as adjusting the amount and placement of coals will allow for greater control and cooking versatility.

It's also important to remember safety when working with the brasero. Tending a fire can be a thrilling experience, but it's vital to use heat-resistant gloves and tools to manipulate the coals and avoid any accidents.

Lastly, don't forget to experiment and have fun! The gaucho grill is all about celebrating the art of open-fire cooking. Embrace the deliciousness of flame-kissed food, and enjoy the unique smoky flavors that the brasero brings to your dining table.

Grilling Techniques

When grilling on a gaucho grill, it's essential to focus on a few key techniques to achieve that delicious, smoky flavor we all love. First, let's talk about the importance of heat control for grilling meat. Gaucho grills offer excellent temperature regulation, allowing us to quickly adjust the heat to achieve the perfect sear or slow cook our meats.

Choosing the right cuts of meat is another critical factor for gaucho grilling. Some of our favorites include skirt steak, ribeye, and lamb. These cuts tend to be tender and flavorful, making them ideal for the gaucho grilling experience.

When it comes to using seasoning, gaucho-style grilling is typically minimalist. A simple salt and pepper rub is often all you need to enhance the natural flavors of the meat. Remember, the star of the show here is the smoky flavor from the woodfire.

Now, onto the actual grilling process. Here's a quick rundown of the steps:

  1. Preheat the gaucho grill, ensuring that the flames have died down and you're left with hot embers.
  2. Lightly oil the grates to prevent sticking, and place your seasoned meat on the grill.
  3. For a delicious crust, sear the meat on high heat for a few minutes before lowering the temperature to cook the meat more evenly and slowly.
  4. Knowing when to flip the meat is essential. We suggest turning the meat only once during the cooking process to lock in those juices and flavors.
  5. As the meat finishes cooking, don't forget to let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in tender and succulent bites.

We hope these tips prove helpful in creating a mouthwatering gaucho grilling experience. Just remember to relax and enjoy the process – the smoky, juicy flavors will make it all worthwhile!

Setting Up The Grill

When planning to build a gaucho grill in our backyard, it's essential to consider the location and size of the grill to suit our needs. We want a large, wood-fired grill that can accommodate an open fire, allowing us to prepare delicious meals in an authentic, Argentinian-style setting.

First, we need to find the right spot in our outdoor area. Look for a level surface and a well-ventilated location, away from trees, bushes, or other flammable objects. Don't forget to check local regulations regarding fire safety and the construction of outdoor fireplaces before we begin. Once we've found the ideal site for our grill, it's time to lay out the foundation. We can use a combination of bricks, concrete, and metal supports to make a stable and durable base for our grill.

Next, let's think about the grill itself. The key to a traditional gaucho grill is the adjustable cooking grate, which can hold plenty of heavy meats over an open fire. We want a grate that can be raised or lowered to achieve the right cooking temperature, so make sure to invest in a high-quality, heavy-duty metal grate to get the best results. Additionally, keep in mind that our grill's height needs to be around 14 to 18 inches above the fire, ensuring proper heat control.

For the fuel, we will use wood or charcoal to create the necessary heat for our gaucho grill. Remember that wood-fired grills provide a unique, smoky flavor to the food, giving it an authentic Argentinian flavor. We can light the fire directly under the grill area, ensuring enough space for proper air circulation.

Finally, to complete our outdoor cooking experience, consider designing an outdoor kitchen that complements our gaucho grill. It can include additional food prep areas, storage, and seating, turning our backyard into a fantastic entertainment space.

By following these steps, we'll have our very own Argentinian-style gaucho grill ready to impress friends and family with flavorful feasts cooked over open flames.

Controlling Temperature

When building a gaucho grill, one of the essential elements we need to focus on is temperature control. This is crucial for achieving perfectly cooked food and avoiding uneven cooking. In this section, we'll discuss a few aspects that can help you maintain an even heat throughout your grilling experience.

First, we have to choose between charcoal or wood as our fuel. Both options have their pros and cons, but generally, wood is considered more traditional for Argentine-style grilling. Wood can produce a more intense, smoky flavor while charcoal offers a more consistent heat source. We recommend experimenting with both to determine which one suits your personal preferences and cooking style.

Next, it's important to create a multi-zone fire for versatile heat control. This can be achieved by placing a strong fire on one side, a moderate fire in the middle, and no fire at all on the opposite side. This setup allows you to have multiple temperatures available at any given time across your grill.

The grill grates play a significant role in controlling temperature too. Heavy-duty grill grates are highly recommended for a gaucho grill, as they can withstand high heat and maintain more consistent temperatures. Choosing a high-quality cooking grate with proper spacing between bars will help ensure even heat distribution and minimize flareups from fat drippings.

Finally, using a temperature control crank wheel, often found on Argentine grills, is an excellent way to have precise control over the heat. By adjusting the height of the cooking grate, you can easily control how much heat is applied to the food. If you find one section is cooking too quickly, simply raise the grate to move the food away from the heat source, or lower it to sear your food closer to the coals if needed.

By focusing on these factors, we can ensure a successful and enjoyable grilling experience with our gaucho grill, serving up delicious food cooked to perfection.

Cooking Argentine Style

Argentine grilling is an art form, bringing together the flavors of the local cuisine and the rich culture of the country. When it comes to cooking Argentine style, the key elements are the parrilla, churrasco, and the Argentinian-style grill.

The parrilla is the traditional Argentine grill, characterized by an open fire and a wide grate to hold the meats. This type of grill provides intense, smoky flavors and the perfect caramelization of the outer layers of the meat. Churrasco, on the other hand, refers to the actual style of grilling, utilizing skewers and large, bone-in cuts of meat which are grilled slowly and meticulously over the open fire.

In order to master Argentine-style grilling, you'll need to become familiar with the key techniques. First and foremost, Argentine grills often rely on fire grilling, using hardwood or charcoal for fuel. This is essential to the grilling process, as the smoke emitted from the firewood enhances the flavor of the meats and vegetables on the grill.

Francis Mallmann, a renowned Argentine chef and author of Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way, offers valuable insight into authentic Argentine grilling techniques. Mallmann’s book emphasizes the use of wood embers instead of direct flames and showcases different Argentine grilling techniques, such as direct grilling, cooking in a cast iron disc, and wrapping in clay that will undoubtedly elevate your grilling game.

If you're interested in bringing the Argentine grilling experience home, investing in a high-quality Argentinian-style grill is a crucial step. Such grills are designed with adjustable grill grates, allowing you to control the distance between the food and the heat source. This versatility ensures that you can sear or cook your meats and vegetables to perfection without burning them. Shop Ñuke BBQ Gaucho Style Grills is a great place to find authentic, handmade Argentine grills crafted by skilled artisans.

By mastering these techniques and investing in the right equipment, we can bring the incredible flavors and techniques of Argentine grilling to our own backyard. Enjoy a delicious, vibrant, and authentic grilling experience with friends and family by incorporating the art of Argentine grilling into your culinary repertoire.

Choosing the Right Materials

When building a gaucho grill, it's essential to select the proper materials to ensure not only a robust and functional grill but also one that will stand the test of time. Let's take a closer look at the key components and the best materials to use for each.

First and foremost, the grill's frame plays a vital role in its overall stability and durability. For this reason, we recommend using stainless steel as it offers high resistance to corrosion, rust, and heat, making it a perfect choice for long-lasting durability.

The insert, which houses the grill grates and holds the fuel in place, should also be made of sturdy material. Stainless steel is, again, an excellent option due to its heat resistance and ability to withstand the high temperatures produced by the grill. Moreover, its non-reactive nature ensures that no harmful chemicals will leach into your food.

Now let's talk about the spir, a key component you need to confidently and safely raise and lower the grill grates to adjust cooking temperatures. Due to the spir's function, we recommend choosing a material with high tensile strength and resistance to deformation under load. Stainless steel, with its outstanding mechanical properties, once again fits the bill and ensures that the spir maintains its form even after repeated use.

Durability is a crucial factor to consider when building a gaucho grill, as you want to be able to use it for years to come without it deteriorating or becoming a safety hazard. Using stainless steel for the aforementioned components provides you with peace of mind knowing that your gaucho grill will not only be highly functional but also stand the test of time.

Cooking with Charcoal and Wood

When it comes to gaucho grilling, choosing between charcoal and wood is essential for achieving the perfect flavor and heat. In our experience, using a combination of charcoal and wood offers an unmatched smoky taste to our grilled meats.

Charcoal provides consistent heat, making it easier for us to control cooking temperatures. Meanwhile, hardwood logs or whole logs impart distinct flavors to the food items we grill. To get the best results, we recommend beginning the cooking process with charcoal until a bed of coals is established.

As the flames die down, we can add our choice of hardwood logs. Selecting hardwood logs ensures that the wood will burn slower and at higher temperatures, contributing to even cooking and tantalizing flavors. Keep in mind, the type of wood used will affect the taste of the food, so pick the wood accordingly to the dish being prepared.

While the flame may be tempting to cook over, we found that cooking over coals allows for better heat control, as it reduces flare-ups and direct exposure to high flames. Not only does this promote even cooking, but it also prevents the food from burning before it’s fully cooked.

Remember to monitor the coals throughout the grilling process and add more charcoal or wood as needed. Don't hesitate to experiment with your gaucho grill and discover which combination of charcoal and wood works best for you. Embrace this traditional Argentine cooking method, and you'll soon become the master of smoky flavors and delicious grilled meals.

Dimensions and Placement

When planning our gaucho grill, it's essential to consider the dimensions and location. Our grill can be large or small, depending on the space we have available and our cooking needs. Let's go over some essential factors to keep in mind!

First, we should think about the size of our grill. A larger grill offers more surface area for grilling, but also takes up more space in our outdoor kitchen. On the other hand, a smaller grill is compact and efficient, but it might not be sufficient for larger gatherings. Take the time to assess our needs and determine the optimal dimensions for our gaucho grill.

Next, we need to choose the ideal location for our grill. It should be situated on a level and sturdy surface, preferably in an area with good ventilation. Additionally, it's a wise idea to place our grill at a reasonable distance from our house, other structures, and flammable materials for safety purposes.

If we're incorporating the gaucho grill as part of an outdoor kitchen, we should consider available workspaces and storage. It's essential to have enough space around the grill for food preparation, as well as convenient access to utensils, dishes, and cooking ingredients.

One more factor to think about is the grill's orientation and positioning. We want to ensure that the grill is facing the most convenient direction for cooking and serving, while keeping in mind wind patterns and sun exposure. This can help make our grilling experience more enjoyable and efficient.

By taking all these factors into account, we can build a gaucho grill that is not only functional but also well-suited to our specific needs and preferences. Happy grilling!

A Taste of Culture

As we delve into the world of gaucho grilling, let us immerse ourselves in a rich cultural experience that spans across the Americas. Gauchos, mainly found in Argentina, Uruguay, and Southern Brazil, are skilled horsemen who have a strong connection to their land. With the knowledge and traditions passed down through generations, gauchos have mastered the art of asado, a time-honored barbecue technique that celebrates both culinary excellence and cultural heritage.

South America, with its diverse landscapes and rich history, has been influenced by various cultures, from Spanish and Portuguese settlers to indigenous peoples. This fusion of influences is undoubtedly evident in the gaucho grilling style. As we build our gaucho grill, we are not only creating a mere cooking tool, but we're also embracing a symbol of cultural identity that unites communities across South America.

Asado is much more than just a method of grilling meat; it's a social event deeply rooted in gaucho culture. Family and friends come together to share in the preparation, cooking, and feasting. The process is unhurried and can take several hours, allowing ample time for conversations, laughter, and memory-making amidst the aromas of slowly cooked meats.

Using a gaucho grill, we can bring the unique flavors of South America into our own backyards. With a mixture of indigenous, Spanish, and Portuguese influences complementing the gaucho's unwavering dedication to quality, our asado will transport us and our loved ones to the warm camaraderie of a traditional South American gathering. So, let's honor the legacy of the gaucho culture and embark on the journey of building our own gaucho grill with enthusiasm and respect for the rich traditions it represents.

Maintenance and Care

Taking care of your gaucho grill is essential for ensuring its durability, optimal function, and ease of use. By following a few simple maintenance steps, we can keep our grill in excellent condition and enjoy delicious meals for years to come.

Firstly, cleaning the grill after each use is vital in prolonging the grill's life. To start, remove each detachable part and let them soak in warm, soapy water for at least 20 minutes. After soaking, we can use a wire brush to clean most of the pieces, being particularly careful while cleaning the grate to brush in the same direction as the bars.

As gaucho grills are usually made of high-quality stainless steel, it's important to keep them clean and free of food debris to prevent rust or corrosion. A wood-fired Gaucho Grill care guide can offer additional tips for maintaining the stainless steel parts.

The learning curve for using a gaucho grill may vary, but by practicing and experimenting with different cooking techniques, such as building a multi-zone fire, we can become more comfortable and proficient in using our grill. For example, having a strong fire on the left side furthest away from the wheel, a moderate fire in the middle, and no fire at all in the right section can provide diverse grilling options.

Finally, including a few essential tools, like long tongs and a good pair of gloves, can make our grilling experience safer and more enjoyable. By taking care of our grill's components and investing in proper accessories, we will have a dependable grill that delivers excellent performance and delicious meals.

The Social Aspect of Grilling

When it comes to grilling, there's no denying that it brings people together. Be it family members or a group of close friends, we've all experienced those warm get-togethers where laughter and the scent of barbecue fill the air. A gaucho grill is no exception, and in fact, amplifies the social aspect of grilling.

The gaucho grill, which is rooted in the Argentinian tradition of communal cooking, is designed to captivate everyone in the vicinity. As we gather around the adjustable, open fire pit, it encourages us to share stories, exchange tips, and engage with one another. In this way, the grill becomes not only a cooking apparatus but also a centerpiece of our social events.

When throwing a gaucho-grill party, it's a perfect opportunity to invite both family and friends. Children can marvel at the crackling flames, while adults bond over their love for well-cooked meats and the art of grilling. The unique design of a gaucho grill allows us to create a mini-showcase of our culinary skills as we deftly maneuver the grates and experiment with different cooking techniques.

As with any gathering, ensuring that everyone feels included is important. This is especially true when it comes to smaller gaucho-grill parties with a close-knit group. We can try to involve our guests by having them help skewer vegetables, season meats, or even stoke the fire. This way, everyone gets to enjoy the cooking process, and it makes for a memorable experience where we learn and bond together.

In a nutshell, gaucho grills transform our usual grilling sessions into something more profound. They allow us to connect with our loved ones on a deeper level, forming lasting memories that we'll cherish for years to come. After all, they say laughter is the best ingredient for a successful barbecue, so let's ensure that there's plenty of it around our gaucho grill.

Beyond Gaucho Grills

In our exploration of outdoor cooking, we've come across several other interesting grill types that share similarities with the gaucho grill. One such example is the Santa Maria grill, which has a distinctive design and flavor. Known for its adjustable height grates, the Santa Maria allows for precise heat control, just like the gaucho grill. However, the Santa Maria often has a built-in crank system, making it a bit easier to adjust the cooking surface.

Another notable variation is the grill with a side brasero. This separate compartment allows you to build your fire and create hot coals more efficiently without direct contact with the cooking grate. As the coals are ready, you can transfer them underneath the grill for a consistent heat source. This feature proves particularly useful when cooking larger pieces of meat that require long, slow roasting, such as whole pigs or lamb legs.

If you're looking for a more rustic option, you might be interested in the cowboy grill. With a simple design that often consists of a cast-iron grate supported by sturdy metal legs, these grills are easy to set up and can be used over an open fire. They provide an excellent option for campers or anyone who'd like to evoke that outdoor, Western vibe while preparing a delicious meal.

And of course, there's always the classic barbecue setup that many of us have come to know and love. From gas-powered grills to charcoal-fueled monsters, these backyard staples offer various cooking options and versatility. You can't go wrong with a well-designed barbecue grill for your everyday grilling needs.

In the end, no matter which type of grill you choose, the most crucial aspect is how much joy and satisfaction it brings to your outdoor cooking experience. We hope the information we've shared here helps you find the perfect grill that meets your needs and elevates your culinary adventures. Happy grilling!

Safety Precautions

When building a gaucho grill, it's important to keep safety as our top priority. One of the first steps in doing so is to ensure that our firebox is designed and constructed properly. This means that it should be made from heat-resistant materials and have enough ventilation to provide optimal airflow. Good airflow will help regulate the temperature and prevent overheating, while heat-resistant materials will reduce the risk of fire hazards.

As we work on the internal parts of the grill, let's remind ourselves to be cautious with the sharp edges and hot surfaces. Wearing gloves, eye protection, and closed-toe shoes are some simple precautions that can help prevent accidents while working on our gaucho grill. Additionally, having a fire extinguisher nearby is always a smart idea to tackle any unexpected fire-related emergencies.

Grease management is another crucial aspect to consider. Accumulated grease can act as fuel for a potential fire, so it's vital to design our grill in a way that allows excess grease to be collected and disposed of safely. One option is to include a grease tray or drip pan that can be removed and cleaned regularly. By keeping a watchful eye on this, we can prevent grease buildup and avoid flare-ups when cooking our delicious meals.

Last but not least, the location of our grill is worth considering. We must make sure to place it in an open, well-ventilated area, away from flammable materials or structures. It's also a good idea to have a designated fire safety zone around the grill, with a radius of at least 3 feet, to help prevent any stray sparks or flames from causing accidents.

By taking these precautions into account, we can minimize potential risks and ensure a safe and enjoyable grilling experience on our gaucho grill.

Great Cooking Experiences

When it comes to grilling, we believe that a great cooking experience involves the perfect blend of smoky flavors, well-seasoned steaks, and an efficient grill that gives you total control over your culinary creations. The Argentinian-style gaucho grill offers all of these things and more, making it the perfect choice for anyone who loves outdoor cooking.

With a gaucho grill, you can expect intense, smoky flavors infused into every meal. This is thanks to the wood or charcoal fuel used, which creates those signature aromas that simply can't be replicated with gas grills. In fact, one of the keys to a successful gaucho grill experience is selecting the right wood, such as oak or mesquite, to enhance your dishes further.

Another feature that sets the gaucho grill apart is the ability to raise and lower the cooking grate. This provides precise control over the heat, allowing you to achieve perfectly seared steaks or slow-cooked meats with ease. You can also experiment with different grilling techniques, such as cooking on various heat levels or moving your steaks to cooler areas for a low-and-slow cooking experience.

When it comes to seasoning, simplicity is key in the world of gaucho grilling. We recommend sticking with just a generous sprinkling of salt on your meats. This allows the natural flavors of the meat and smoke to shine through, creating the perfect harmony of taste and texture.

One of the brands we admire for their gaucho grill design is Grillworks. Their grills are handcrafted and made with high-quality materials that ensure durability and excellent performance, making them the perfect companion for your outdoor cooking adventures.

Ultimately, your gaucho grill experience will depend on your creativity, skill, and the ingredients you choose. But one thing is for sure: with this type of grill, you can expect a genuinely memorable, flavorful, and enjoyable time around the fire with friends and family. So, give it a try and elevate your outdoor cooking game like never before!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal design for a Gaucho-style grill?

The ideal design for a Gaucho-style grill focuses on its key feature: the ability to raise and lower the grilling surface over a live fire. This allows for precise control over cooking temperatures, making it perfect for cooking a variety of meats. The fire pit should be well-ventilated and large enough to accommodate multiple zones of heat, from a blazing fire to a moderate one, and even a section with no fire at all. This multi-zone fire enables the grill to cater to different cooking needs and food types.

What materials are needed to construct a Gaucho grill?

To build a Gaucho grill, you'll need sturdy and heat-resistant materials like steel, bricks, and cement. The grill's legs will need to be made of steel, while the fire pit should be lined with a layer of bricks to insulate the heat. The grate must be heavy-duty to withstand high temperatures and the weight of the food you'll be cooking. You can also use Tagwood BBQ's available collection as a reference for materials.

How do you assemble an Argentine brick grill?

Start by constructing the steel frame that will support the grill. Next, build the fire pit with bricks, making sure to align them correctly for proper insulation. The bricks should be laid on top of a layer of cement to ensure stability. Connect the grate to the frame and install a mechanism for raising and lowering the grilling surface, such as a wheel or a pulley system.

What are some reliable Parrilla grill plans?

One reliable Parrilla grill plan can be found in this instructional video by It shows a step-by-step process on how to build a Parrilla or Gaucho grill from scratch, including details on materials, dimensions, and assembly techniques. The guide provides valuable insights for anyone looking to create their own Gaucho-style grill.

How do you build a DIY Santa Maria grill?

A DIY Santa Maria grill is similar to a Gaucho grill, with the primary difference being the way the grilling surface is raised and lowered. While the Gaucho grill typically uses a wheel or pulley system, the Santa Maria grill has a counterweight mechanism. The construction method is similar, involving a steel frame, a brick fire pit, and a heavy-duty grate. Adapting the design to include the counterweight feature instead of a wheel will help you build a DIY Santa Maria grill.

What kind of wood should be used for an Argentine grill?

The best wood to use with an Argentine grill is hardwood that's dense, slow-burning, and produces a fragrant smoke. Types of hardwood such as oak, hickory, and mesquite are popular choices because they impart distinct flavors to the grilled food while also providing consistent heat. Try to avoid using softwoods or treated lumber, as they tend to burn quickly and produce undesirable chemicals when burned.

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